Security Camera System Suggestions


Old 08-22-16, 01:20 PM
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Security Camera System Suggestions

I've been researching security camera systems and a little overwhelmed. There are so many brands out there and it's difficult from the reviews to really see what's junk and, even if its ratings are great, whether it suits my needs. While I want the cameras to obviously benefit my property, I would not mind donig a little community service and have one that can pick up our street's vehicle and foot traffic as well. We've had a lot of vandalism and petty crime recently on my street. My house is only 25 feet from the street curb, so not a lot of distance to cover, but nonetheless. I'd like pictures of the street be good enough for the cops to use if needed.

I'd want the street monitor to be work on motion sensor if possible. (I assume motion detectors still work at 40 to 50 feet to the other side of the street?) I'd like to be able to have the two or three cameras focused on my property to send me notifications, but obviously not have to get them for the one or two on street .

I'm open to wired or wireless. I'm wondering if I should start out by buying a kit and then, if necessary, adding a more high definition camera for the street. So, I suppose I'd want to know if there are systems you know of that have that capability outright or ones that are expandable to so. I'd want to be able to monitor it remotely, but I'm assuming that's a given for most of them nowadays.

Sorry if this is a complicated question. I've been trying to do my homework on this, but I don't want to order something and then find it's not what I need or want for this task.

Thanks for any help you can provide.
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Old 08-22-16, 04:57 PM
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It's not complicated..... it just gets asked a lot.

I install Bosch and Hikvision systems. From one end of the spectrum to the other.
Most of my homeowner installed system use 8 cameras and an eight channel NVR.

The NVR (network video recorder) is the heart of the system. They come in 4, 8 and 16 channels. They are of the POE (power over Ethernet) type. The camera is connected with a cat5 cable. That cat5 cable sends power to the camera and carries the signal back to the NVR.

Most NVR's come with a 1tB disc drive for storage. I usually use a 4tB drive for 8 cameras. Allows about a month or so of recorded video before overwritting it with new.

The NVR is connected to the home wireless router which allows you to view the cameras locally or out thru the internet. You can view live or recorded video. An iPhone or Android device can view the signals over the web thru a free app.

I don't usually program the customers NVR to email motion notifications as many things can trigger that. From leaves falling to car headlights at night.

I do not recommend wireless cameras although some people like them. Keep in mind.... even with a wireless camera.... the signal is wireless but the camera needs power.

I use mostly an evirodome type of camera. 4MP with a 2.8mm fixed lens. The run in the $150-$175 range.

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Old 09-03-16, 12:40 PM
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As for cameras to use, I would recommend, Hikvision or Duhua. There are a lot of good systems that would serve you well, however. Some basics I would recommend:

PoE - This is Power over Ethernet. It means that one cable is responsible for data and power transmission. I would NOT waste my time and effort with analog systems (requires Coaxiable cable and a separate power cable) or with "wireless" cameras.

If you get a wireless camera you will immediately realize its shortcoming when you try to connect its 4' power cable to an outlet that is 40' away. You also create another point of failure. Meaning, if your wifi router fails, your camera fails with it.

Fixed Focal length cameras. These cameras will give you the best bang per buck. Generally 2.8mm, 4.0mm or 6.0mm are the most common. These do not have a drive motor to "zoom in", but that means they are cheaper.

Motion detection: The cameras use frame comparison to detect motion. Basically, is frame A different "enough" than frame B? If so, it will indicate that there is motion. The distance to which this is effective is based on several factors. The size of the object being "detected" is a chief factor. A dump truck at 50 feet? No problem? A squirrel? Maybe not.
I would NOT rely on motion detection to initiate recording. It can do it, but why risk it? What happens if a murder happened across the street, but motion detection failed to tell the camera to record? In other words, it's not an exact science. That being said, record on motion is a viable option if you are truly concerned about storage space.

Most probably you will want an NVR. The NVR acts storage and as your viewing station. Meaning, you will connect your TV/monitor into it (viewing station), and the cameras will record to the hard drive. You can can playback recorded video from the NVR as well. Or indirectly through the web interface.

Remote Viewing: Any networked camera system can be viewed remotely. This requires you to forward a port on your router. Note, this does create a potential security vulnerability, as most of these systems would be trivial for a hacker to hack. An alternative is VPN, but that is beyond the scope of explanation of a forum post. An issue that you can run into is your ISP changing your IP address too frequently. In this case, you will want some kind of DNS service.

Kit vs Individual parts: This part is up to you. I would probably steer you towards figuring out how many cameras you want for your situation. Most homeowners are best served with 4-8 cameras. It just depends on the situation, however.

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